LAID-OFF INDIAN IT PROFESSIONALS FACE U.S. VISA DEADLINE

  • Thousands of Indian IT professionals in the U.S. who lost their jobs following a series of lay-offs at companies such as Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Amazon are now struggling to find new employment within the period stipulated by their work visas to stay in the country.
  • According to The Washington Post, nearly two lakh IT workers have been laid off since November.
  • As per some industry insiders, of the sacked IT workers, 30% to 40% are Indians, a significant number of whom are on H-1B and L1 visas.
  • The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows U.S. companies to employ foreign workers in special occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.
  • Technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries such as India and China. L-1A and L-1B visas are available for temporary intracompany transferees who work in managerial positions or have specialised knowledge.

Scrambling for options

  • A significantly large number of Indian IT professionals, who are on non-immigrant work visas such as H-1B and L1, are now scrambling for options to stay in the U.S. to find a new job in the stipulated few months that they get under these foreign work visas after losing their jobs and changing their visa status as well.
  • Amazon staffer Gita (name changed) arrived in the U.S. only three months ago. This week, she was told that March 20 would be her last working day.
  • The situation is getting worse for those on H-1B visas as they have to find a new job within 60 days or else they will be left with no other option but to head back to India.
  • Under current circumstances, when all IT companies are on a firing spree, they feel that getting a job within that short period is next to impossible.

Devastating situation

  • Sita (name changed), another IT professional on H-1B visa, got laid off from Microsoft on January 18. She is a single mother.
  • “It is unfortunate that thousands of tech employees are facing lay-offs, particularly those on H-1B visas who are facing additional challenges as they must find a new job and transfer their visa within 60 days of termination or risk leaving the country,” Silicon Valley-based entrepreneur and community leader Ajay Jain Bhutoria said.
  • “This can have devastating consequences for families, including the sale of properties and disruptions to children’s education.
  • It would be beneficial for tech companies to show special consideration for H-1B workers and extend their termination date by a few months, as the job market and recruitment process can be challenging,” he said.
  • The Global Indian Technology Professionals Association (GITPRO) and the Foundation for India and Indian Diaspora Studies (FIIDS) on Sunday launched a community-wide effort to try and help these IT professionals by connecting job seekers to job referrers and informers.
  • The FIIDS will work on efforts to influence policymakers and decision-makers of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
  • “With massive lay-offs in the tech industry, January has been brutal for tech professionals. Many talented folks lost their jobs.
  • As the tech industry is dominated by Indian immigrants, they are the most impacted,” Khande Rao Kand of the FIIDS said. The laid-off H-1B holders need to find an H-1B sponsoring job in 60 days or leave within 10 days after becoming out of status.

SOURCE: THE HINDU, THE ECONOMIC TIMES, PIB

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